Baby Registry: Everything you do & don’t need

There are literally a thousand things to worry about when you’re pregnant for the first time. How will I get through labor? How will I figure out how to parent well? What are we going to name this kid?

Probably one of your smallest concerns at the beginning is what to put on your baby registry. But before you know it the time will come when you have to get those necessities.

If you’re lucky, maybe you will get all of these things and more! But a lot of us have small budgets and may not have a huge amount of family and friends to spoil us with stuff. In that case, it’s important to be careful about what we put on a registry to make sure we make the most of people’s generosity and only put down things we really need!

I did my fair share of research, but even with that it seemed like I got a lot of things I did not need and didn’t get a few things I did need. Although you can’t control what people buy, this list may help you figure out what you can potentially return after a baby shower and replace with items you may need more.

If you’re wanting an ultimate list of all the items you need, check out this post.

Things You Don’t Really Need:

  • Baby Shoes + Fancy Baby Outfits. I remember being over the moon when I received these items as gifts. I thought my baby would be just adorable in them. I was totally wrong! My little squirmy alien baby didn’t look good in a dress outfit and converse. He kicked those fluffy little sole-less shoes off about every 5 minutes and changing him was such a chore in those button-up pants. Do you know what my newborn did look adorable in? Sleepers and onesies. I wish I would have returned the fancy outfits and invested in more sleepers for those first few months. And before you get all sad, don’t worry… when they’re toddlers and can stand up straight on their own they will look even more like little adults and you can dress them up to your heart’s content!
  • Baby Wipe Warmer + To-Go Wipes Dispenser. Though these items did make it onto my ultimate baby prep checklist, they are totally unnecessary. It must have been the new mom syndrome that made me think I needed these things. It’s so much faster and simpler to just use the wipes straight out of the package they come in! Stick one package in your diaper bag and one by your changing area at home and you’re good to go. The only reason I would suggest having these things is if you really want everything to look uniform and neat, and if you have extra money to spend.
  • Changing Table. Now, you DO need somewhere to change the baby. And to be honest, if you don’t have somewhere that is waist level for you it is going to be really difficult. One of the best suggestions I have heard is to secure a changing pad onto a regular dresser. This saves room and money so you don’t have to have an additional table that is just for changing diapers. We ended up buying a dresser that is actually made to be a changing table on top, but if you already have an extra dresser for the baby see if you can get creative and assemble something on top yourself!

Things You May Not Need/Only Need A Few Of:

  • Blankets. I registered for every type of baby blanket that exists. Waffle-weave, muslin, fleece, crocheted, quilts, satin… you name it. I had EVERYTHING. Turns out I totally didn’t need them all. We ended up using 3 of our favorites that swaddled well, were seasonally appropriate and that my baby and I liked the feel of.
  • Baby Washcloths + Bath Towels. I had over 20 baby washcloths and 4 hooded towels. I used all 4 towels, but could have easily made do with 2. But I used one washcloth per towel… so that means I was using 2-4 washcloths a week and 2-4 towels a week. I have so many washcloths that didn’t get used one time in my baby’s short lived used of them. Also, regular sized adult bath towels work perfectly fine no matter how small your baby is… but it IS hard to resist those adorable tiny towels with cute little hoods!
  • Nursing Cover. I got one that didn’t work well for me, and never got another one. I breastfed perfectly fine without a cover. It really just depends how private of a person you are, as well as how stealthy you are with public nursing. Blankets also work well in a pinch.
  • Newborn Clothes + Diapers. If you have a premie, you will probably need to buy a few more newborn items (but you can get that done after the baby is born if that does happen). Most babies aren’t in newborns for very long. Usually 1-2 months tops. I would suggest 5-10 items total, depending on what the size of your baby has been estimated at. If you’re looking at a full term, 8-10 lb boy I would highly suggest limiting the newborn clothing. If you have carried a pretty tiny baby so far, or are showing signs of preterm labor, it may be wise to stock up a little more on the newborn clothing. Sleep sacks, onesies and sleepers are the best items for newborns as they tend to stay in the fetal position and are very scrawny.  If you get tons of newborn items at your shower, just return the ones you can and replace with 0-3 clothing or size 1 diapers, as you will need the very most of this size.
  • Baby Entertainment. If someone gifts something or you find a great deal on a toy, just keep the receipt. If you get hand me downs, by all means keep them! But when it comes to your registry and buying brand new items yourself, it may be smart to wait and see what baby likes. Ask your friends if you can try out their baby toys, or see what your child enjoys at friend’s houses. This way you can try out different things. Every baby’s personality is so different they may or may not enjoy the things you picked out before you even met them.
  • Bottles. Even if you’re formula feeding, you don’t need 20 bottles. I formula fed for 8 months and only owned 2 bottles. It was a pain, but it wasn’t the end of the world and I never felt like I needed more. I would recommend 4-6. If you’re feeding every 3-4 hours those bottles will last you all day. If you wash bottles every evening and morning (which you should do, otherwise the formula will stick to the bottles and be impossible to get out and STINK!), 6 is the most you should need. If you’re breastfeeding and just want extra bottles for babysitters, 1-2 is all you need (preferably slow-flow).
  • Pacifiers. You won’t even know if your baby likes pacifiers until her or she is born! Lots of babies don’t. I bought about 10 and my kids hated them. I would suggest buying one, or a package of 2-3, and seeing if your baby likes them in the hospital. If so, you can grab more. If you have 3-5 pacifiers total, you can switch them out to clean and have some on hand for if you lose a few.
  • Bassinet/Co-Sleeper/Crib. Once again, you don’t need all the things. Babies do not care where they sleep. You could put them in a box if you wanted to. As long as you are following safe sleep standards, you’re good. Also, you probably don’t need a crib until you want them to sleep in their own room. No rush on finding a huge and expensive crib right away. A cheap little bassinet to put in your room will do just fine.
  • Baby Wash. You don’t need more than one in the beginning. One bottle can last up to that entire first year! Now that my son is a busy toddler we go through about 2 big bottles a year and he bathes 5-10 times a week.
  • Nursing Clothes. They are nice, but also a LOT of money. You do absolutely need a nursing bra. But other than that, you can make do with what you already have. Wearing a stretchy cami underneath a loose top/tunic (maternity tops work great!) is perfect for nursing in public. Just pull up the top shirt and pull the stretchy cami underneath the breast you are feeding with. You can get cheap, stretchy camisoles at Walmart for about $1 each. Check out my post here for more ideas for affordable maternity, postpartum and nursing clothes.
  • Boppy Nursing Pillow. These were fabulous and helpful for nursing! But you could also easily use normal pillows. This item is up to your discretion and budget.
  • Diaper Bag. While these are fabulous, they are also insanely pricey. With my first, I thought I just had to have a legit diaper bag. Looking back I wish I would have just picked a cute backpack or tote and called it good.
  • High Chair. While they are nice, they also take up a lot of room. We have a tiny kitchen and wouldn’t have had anywhere to store a high chair. We ended up getting a little booster seat with a tray that snaps on. It has worked great from 4 months-3 years! It was only $16. 
  • Baby Carrier. Everyone’s lifestyle is so different, this is an item you really want to think about before purchasing. If you have an infant car seat that can be popped in and out of the car easily, you may not even need another carrier depending on your lifestyle. Whether or not you work outside of the home would affect whether you want a carrier or not. If you have other kids or not, your body shape and strength, and your stroller will also affect what you choose to get. There are so many different kinds you definitely want to research and ask around!

Things You Definitely Want:

  • Diapers & Wipes. I have never turned down diapers and wipes. If someone gifts you a size that your baby has grown out of, some stores will take it and exchange for the same brand in the correct size. If you can’t find a store that will do it for you, just give it to someone in need (or a local pregnancy center!). Stock up on every size. It may seem weird to be accepting size 7 diapers at your baby shower, but they grow into them before you know it!
  • Onesies & Sleepers. These items in every size up to 18 months are LIFE. In the summer they can hang around in just a onesie. In the cooler months pair a onesie with pants and a light hoody/jacket and socks. When it comes to baby clothes, the simpler the better in my opinion. And of course, sleepers work for any time of day in any season for any age (well…you know, for kids… :). Some cozy winter days my 3 year old still spends all day in his footie pajamas! We love them.
  • Car Seat + Stroller System. I remember thinking that I would never use a stroller, but we bought one anyways that went with our infant car seat. Boy was I wrong! We used that stroller on our first day out of the hospital. It was a life saver in SO many situations, and we still use the same stroller now that he is 3. Get a stroller that adjusts with your child’s size so you can use it for many years.

What baby items could you not live without? Which items were unnecessary in your opinion? Share in the comments! 

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